These days, the rap game is kind of soft. It's all over-glorified Hokey Pokey dance steps, 808 tics, and bull-shit braggin'. Most of the time, these MCs are just mimicking the gestures of gangsters gone by.
Still, there was a time when rap was real, and Ice Cube is one real motherfucker. He's been around for decades, and it's his shadow that most of these lil' wannabes are walking.
He'll cast that shadow over the crowd at LIV for a special performance on Sunday, June 9. And maybe he'll drop some of these classic trill gangsta hits.
Ice Cube's "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It"
Gangsta rap is pretty misunderstood by the lames of America. It's not about glorifying the ugly side of life, but it is about shedding a light on the darkness of real life in the streets. Ice Cube is tired of people blaming this music for the evils of the world. In reality, gangsta is intelligent commentary on social problems and harsh truths. But as long as the haves refuse to acknowledge the have-nots, the fight continues.
N.W.A.'s "Gangsta Gangsta"
Ice Cube busts right out the gate on this N.W.A. classic, delivering tons of iconic rhymes like there was nothing to it. He keeps the storytelling tradition of hip-hop alive, even if the story isn't an easy one to swallow. Don't come stepping to him without having done your research. It's not like running up on one of these soft new kids. Cube's been 'round.
N.W.A.'s "Fuck The Police"
This song is the perfect example of how gangsta rap can be used as a vehicle for an important message. What might sound like a scary, angry shouting match to old white people is actually just a patriotic airing of grievances. Today, fellow Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar continues the tradition, addressing these very concerns in a number of personal tracks on Good Kid M.A.A.D. City. Even decades later, there's still work to be done in the projects.
N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton"
This song was Ice Cube and N.W.A.'s introduction to America, and they weren't holding back one bit. Why would they? From the crib to the crown, the world hadn't held back on them. But Ice Cube and his crew just persevered, leaning on the "strength of street knowledge." No matter what life throws down, you can't give up. That's gangsta.
Ice Cube's "Today Was a Good Day"
There's not a hip-hop fan on the planet who doesn't jive with this classic track. Shit, you don't even have to especially like rap to know most of the words to this jam. It is Ice Cube's vision of a perfect day in Gangstaland. Full of fornication, b-ball, good kush, and no static. Real warriors know the best fight is the one that doesn't happen. The only shit a gangsta should be bustin' is nuts, and this song is all about maxing and relaxing.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Ice Cube's "Check Yo Self"
Picking up where the last song left off, Ice Cube pays homage to his elders and gives listeners his own version of "The Message." It's not always rosy cheeks and blue skies in Ice Cube's world, and you better watch "check yo' self before you wreck yo' self." Only punk-ass bitches think prison is cool. Real gangstas have nothing to prove, and Cube is trying to let y'all know the real. But whether you heed his message or not, this beat is bangin'.